Crafts, decorative arts, Little Brothers, Spring, xo

chickens! but first: paint!

03.29.09 | 48 Comments

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The decorative arts (ornamental and functional works in ceramic, wood, glass, metal, textile) are explored briefly in The American Boy’s Handy Book in the chapter Every Boy a Decorative Artist. I think that’s where my bookmark fell out. Shadow paintings were a big hit about a month ago with the boys and we had a big agenda to fill in the following weeks with urban graffiti and mural painting that flew out the proverbial window with the arrival of the migrating birds and Spring.

Spring does not mess around where we live (does it anywhere?!). From the first almond blossoms to the fading miner’s lettuce, there’s a lot of buzzing and chirping and hooting and peeping and brooding. This year it involves one pregnant June cat. Then, there are piles of seed packets and manure and extreme minus tides and the mad rush to build and plant three raised beds in the spot where the old tire swing tree stood. Decorative arts, decorative schmarts. We shuffled all plans aside to make room for the lumber that would build bird houses, tree swings and most recently: a chicken tractor.

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One of course needs chickens. Chas picked out four at the Los Gatos Ace Hardware store: one barred rock, one white americauna, one brown americauna and one buff orphington.

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Of course, this is all fine and good but the real fun comes when you invite a friend over and that friend suggests we all paint the chicken tractor purple and pink and red and hot orange! Now that’s a party!
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I’d like to think that a little inspiration was drawn from the garden:

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…but we can’t ever be sure with these kids. We just have to sit back, watch the hummingbirds harvest the last of the quince blossom nectar, and let the boys do what comes naturally with a palette of beautiful colors.
Seth managed to use one entire bottle of purple, very deliberately and gently rubbing it in segments around the coop, tying other colors into the purple family. Ford took the iridescent turquoise and made “schlopp, schlopp, beautiful schlopp with a cherry on top (Seuss)” on the backside of the coop.

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Chas just climbed the treehouse.
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In the end they were more about pouring paint down the gopher holes than painting in any empty spots on the chicken tractor, so Alis and I dipped brushes in said gopher holes and finished up the job ourselves. It was a very satisfying ten-odd minutes of sunshine and color and sparkly paint–and to think we almost painted the coop green again! Kids have the right idea. Kudos to the independent aesthetic of the young child. The hens will love it!

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